2016 was a game changer. If we are forever rushing along the deluge of life, then 2016 was when I jumped from the safety of the raft to try synchronised swimming. It was scary but it looked cool.
This year I grew up a lot and at the risk of sounding like another thirty-something year old woman who has found herself…I’m another thirty-something year old woman who has found herself. I know who I am and feel solid in my shoes. In this life that I have carved out for myself.
And it’s been amazing.
I am living the dream.
In March 2016, not so long after writing last year’s manifesto (or resolutions if you prefer) and after a lot of reflecting, I handed in my notice at my graphic design job of over 10 years to go full time freelance. Now I am a graphic designer, a blogger, a food stylist, a photographer and an illustrator…whenever and whatever the job requires.
I’m a multi-faceted creature with many curiosities, talents and passions. As many of us are.
I feel lucky and blessed to be able to do what I do. While my graphic design career has been by the books, other aspects of what I do now such as blogging and food styling are self taught. Impostor Syndrome is strong in this one. Also known as Fraud Syndrome, it’s when you can’t accept your own hard work and success and attribute it to luck and timing. But it’s not all dumb luck. I have to remind myself regularly that I deserve to be where I am at because I worked damn hard to get here. For 5 years I’ve worked relentlessly to get to the stage where I can make a living from my hobbies. There’s still a ton of growing and learning still to come, but I earned this.
The first few weeks of freelancing I avoided working weekends. Years of working nights and weekends meant I wanted those moments for myself. But after getting into the flow of freelancing, I realised that working weekends wasn’t so bad when you’re working for yourself. When it’s busy, it’s best to get the work done. I try not to cancel plans for weekend work but if I don’t have plans and there’s work to do, I work weekends without too much guilt. I work 6 or 7 days each week but I rarely put in 8 hours a day. It feels more balanced. Make hay while the sun shines, grasshopper. But don’t be a workaholic.
Being solely responsible for my income, I’ve had to accept the concept of feast and famine. I’d heard about it and I understood it could happen but I don’t think you’re ever quite prepared for it emotionally. A quiet business period doesn’t signal the decline of all work and a plunge into failure and poverty. Fortunately, a quiet day or two has always been followed up by a hectic schedule of quotes and projects.
Don’t freak out. Move with the ebb and flow. I’ve learned to deal with my quiet days better, more confident that quiet moments never last and that I should either schedule a lunch date, update my portfolios or tackle paperwork…such as invoicing.
OMG keep up to date with invoicing! I’ve had more than one client tell me I forgot to invoice them. That is not what a good business owner does. I’ve improved a lot now.
Instead of writing New Year’s resolutions, for the past few years, I’ve been compiling a lists of what I want to focus more and less of for the year. (2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016)
Last year’s manifesto was:
- More: gratitude, inspiration, favourite things, long walks, free range.
- Less: apology, junk, portions, sitting still, meat
My health sits happily, unchanged. No news is good news. I’ve been off meds for over a year now with no consequences. I made long walks and free range a daily part of my life. I’ve been consistently taking long walks and incorporating them into my schedule. My goal is to walk 70k steps every week and while I can’t fit in 10k every single day, I’m able to make up for missed steps over the course of a week. I’m happy to report that I only buy free range eggs and meat and it hasn’t broken the bank. The other stuff has been on my mind too.
2016 was a wonderful year…
- I quit my job…OMG…
- …to be a full time freelancing girlboss
- I signed my blog to an agency (exclusively)
- I signed my design and photography talents to a creative agency
- I upgraded to CC
- I surpassed 5k Instagram followers
- I completed my first paid event photography gig
- I completed my first paid restaurant/bar photography gig
- I learned how to use a Canon (I’m a Nikon girl)
- I learned how to use studio lights
- I created 30 recipes for a dozen paid sponsors and clients
- I secured a weekly paid photography/styling gig
I hope you take a moment to reflect and squirrel away anything from this post that tickles you. Feel free to comment below or contact me privately with your goals, hopes and dreams for 2017.
I believe saying them out loud (or typing them into the interwebs) opens up a dialogue with the universe. At the very least, articulating your goals means if an opportunity should float past in the shape of one of your goals, you will know to LEAP.
You got this.
Great post Genie!! As a fellow kiwi blogger it is truely inspirational to read about all your accomplishment over the past year. And a big congratulations for achieving them. Keep up the good work girl 😀
Thanks Kylie 😘
Great post. I can identify on so many levels, esp that imposter syndrome stuff, boy did I let that one get me for a while!
Speak soon Spence
Sent from my iPhone
Sounds like a massive year, congratulations on having the courage and belief to step out on your own. May 2017 be as exciting and successful for you. Leah
This is very inspirational, well done on your amazing year! It’s inspired me to achieve half of what you did in 2016 this year 🙂 x
Congratulations! Hope 2017 is great for you too. Cheers
An inspiring post!
Sounds as though you’re living the dream! Congratulations and awesome that years of hard work is paying off. All the best for 2017 🙂
Congrats! It sounds like you accomplished lots last year and did so successfully! I’m still trying to figure things out but your post shows there is hope! 🙂
I thought you were A Genie and wondered what kind of bottle you lived in.
After reading and getting tickled I realized that in fact you are a Genie.
Thanks so much for this post. My journey this year has been mighty similar – I’m one year into quitting my very well paid advertising job to pursue my food ambitions. My blog is now 6 months old, and I’m learning, but there’s still A LOT to learn. 2017 primary goal is to grow my audience, and to ask for help. I’ve been slow to tap into my network of experts, because I have suffered from the same self doubt you’ve described. So this is the time to get over myself and make this thing a success. I love the writing, but let’s be honest, it would be nice to actually make some money somewhere along the way too (although I know it’s very early days).
Anyway, great post. Love your work, and thanks for your support this year.
I love the more of/less of, a simple technique to notice and change behavior. I use it all the time with clients, why not me? Here’s to an awesome 2017! Kudos
Inspiring post Genie! Sounds like 2016 was a great year for you, hope 2017 is even better.
Love this post! It’s so inspiring to hear of your struggle with self-doubt but also your bravery at putting one foot in front of the other. Thanks for sharing! I have so enjoyed following you over the past year-plus. I wanted to reach out and invite you to take a look at my new blog: http://christinanifong.com If you like what you see, please sign up for my weekly email newsletter in the sign up box you’ll find here: http://christinanifong.com/category/blog/
I have changed platforms and this is how I’m connecting with readers now. Thanks for taking a look!
Congratulation on an epic 2016 – love your celebration of what you achieved. Here’s to another fabulous year ahead: may it be filled with discovery & growth!
You’ve done so incredibly well for yourself! You should be very proud. Lots of hard work has paid off – here’s to 2017 being even better!
Thanks Hayley! 2017 was quite a game changer for you too I believe!